this article in the nytimes dining section today spells out exactly what i find scary about cooking and eating in new york.
it’s that cooking things in the time-honored way with full respect for fresh, local ingredients gets likened to marie antoinette playing shepherdess in the gardens at versailles. and i can understand precisely this attitude, even though it totally chaps my ass to read it in the local paper.
one of the things i’ll miss most about italy when i return to the states is how easy it’s been to cook for myself twice a day, every day. and yes, it’s both the fact that i don’t have any access to pop culture or commerce after 7pm (the commerce, not the pop culture; the latter is a 24-7 kind of lack) and that i like taking the long, pain-in-the-ass route for just about everything i do, but it doesn’t seem particularly problematic or ridiculous for me to devote maybe three hours of my day to feeding myself.
“frivolous” is what gets me: what’s wrong with us that we have turned cooking into entertainment, drudgery, a mere hobby or playtime for the bourgeois? maybe i’m reading too much into this or maybe i’m out of touch with the reality of the way most of us live today, but i just don’t know how to make all this square in my head. or how it will square once i move back.
and it’s this same attitude that extends to eating, this sort of keeping-up-with-the-joneses-in-the-loft-next-door sort of mindset, where making some elaborate “peasant” dish is another thing to check off that list of things that make you cooler, more cultured than what’s-his-face jones, and going to l’atelier de joël robuchon is another thing to check off.
okay, getting off my high horse now.